The Implica’t + group is the newest Earth Charter Initiative affiliate. This is a group of 55 teachers in the region of Catalonia, Spain, that use the Earth Charter in their classrooms, representing 41 schools.
On April 23rd and 24th the Conference ¨Common Good, Ethics, and Values¨ took place in Europa Congress Palace Vitoria, Spain, organized by Fundación Valores in collaboration with Asociación PlanBIKO and the City Hall of Vitoria-Gasteiz.
The Conference is part of the project ¨Utopias for a better world¨, and its common thread was the Earth Charter, which was highlighted in the speech of María José Carrillo, Fundación Valores President. The text of the Charter was also present in the conference room in a large roller.
Two hundred people participated from different parts of Spain. They listened, discussed, participated and were very excited in all the different sessions. One of the reflections that emerged was that the world is the opposite of how it should be, and that we can and must do something for it to be able to regain its natural, social and cultural harmony. Speakers included leading experts such as Paco Álvarez, Diego Isabel La Moneda, José Esquinas, Juan Torres, Arturo Boyra, Javier Goikoetxea, Fidel Delgado and María Pinar Merino.
The presenters described the distortion currently suffered in the economy, the loss of values and possible alternatives to remedy the planet´s situation, which they consider its sailing aimlessly because no one knows where the socio-economic model is leading us, but it seems to be moving away from the horizon of happiness that we as a species aspire to achieve.
More information on this congress can be found in this article by Revista Tendencias 21
The rector of the University of León (ULE), Jose Angel Hermida, officially endorsed the Earth Charter on October 16, 2015 on behalf of this University. According to the Rector, this endorsement is part of the institution’s commitment to position ULE “at the forefront of global change”.
The Rector noted, after signing the endorsement, “We will share with the Rectors of Spanish universities, that are part of the Rectors’ Conference (CRUE), the importance of endorsing and committing to the Earth Charter”.
In the event, held at the Sala Gordon Ordaz of El Albéitar, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, President of the Culture of Peace Foundation, Maria Novo, head of the UNESCO Chair on Environmental Education and Sustainable Development of UNED, and Pepa Carrillo, President of Values Foundation acted as witnesses.
The Rector recalled that the University of Leon has a Green Office that promotes sustainability, although he pointed out that increased awareness is still needed from the education sector, which in his opinion is the key source from which the University must act.
A new beginning
Mayor Zaragoza, insisted that universities are placed at the forefront of changes that are occurring rapidly worldwide, and therefore it is a time for “a new beginning”.
Mayor also noted that one of the best possible ethical frameworks – the Earth Charter- is available, but “we have not used it as much as we should have” and in the future “it may be too late to put it in practice,” since there are irreversible processes that could lead to situations of no return that could prevent the habitability of the Earth. Therefore, he advocated that this document should become “a benchmark in education” to help people learn the importance of “being more, not having more,” he said.
In her address, Professor of Environmental Education and Sustainable Development María Novo showed that this endorsement implies an adherence to a commitment that can help change “the way we teach and educate the whole fabric of knowledge”, as it is a commitment that “calls all human beings to a paradigm shift which is a change in our worldview” to stop seeing each other “as dominators but see ourselves as part of nature.”
Finally, the President of Values Foundation, Pepa Carrillo, who also participated in this event, offered her thoughts. She said that it is “an opportunity” to work for a better world “from the wealthy neighborhood of the Earth, when 80 percent of the people live in the poor neighborhood”. For this, she said, we have an ethical framework that encompasses the rights of the planet in a process that is “open to all human beings”.
Thousands of endorsements
The Earth Charter is an inspirational document that seeks to inspire in all peoples a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the welfare of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations.
So far more than 6,000 organizations have given their explicit support and commitment to the Earth Charter, with many direct personal endorsements, forming a global support network of millions of people.
The Earth Charter is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and to celebrate this event Values Foundation and the University of Leon organized the Forum “Pale Blue Dot”, which took place on the 16th, 23rd, 24th, and 25th of October. The ULE endorsement took place in the framework of this event.
María del Mar Lluelles, from Lleida, Spain, is a member of the project Engage+ with the Earth Charter and is also part of the Earth Charter volunteer network.
Engage + is a project in which 43 teachers of Lleida participated who have created teaching materials related to ethics and sustainability. You can learn more about this project here.
Recently, the Engage + project won the award for the best project offered by the Impuls Foundation. The jury selected it because of its use of ICTs and its applicability for all ages, but especially because it is a project that has involved the participation of many teachers and is being implemented in various centers in the province of Lleida. For more information, visit this link.
Knowing all this work that María del Mar and her colleagues in Lleida are doing, ECI conducted an interview with her to learn more about the group’s motivation to work voluntarily to promote the Earth Charter and implement ethical principles towards sustainable lifestyles.
1. What motivated you and your colleagues to create the Engage + project with the Earth Charter?
Engage+ with the Earth Charter is a crosscutting project that aims to educate towards changing current social and environmental behaviors. It also aims to educate emotionally and foster a culture of peace and respect. We are moved by the ethical, social, and educational commitment for a decent future for all.
Depending on the education level you want to target, different points of the Charter are addressed. For example, with children of the first cycle (0-6 years), we work on aspects of Pillar II (Ecological Integrity) with the students of Primary Education (6-12 years), in addition to the above we also work on aspects of Pillar I (Respect and Care for the community of life), and in some sections of Pillar III (Social and Economic Justice, principles 9 and 12, especially, and with students in Secondary Education (12-18 years), all the principles of the Charter, giving emphasis to the knowledge and appreciation of Pillar IV-Democracy, nonviolence, and peace.
The Engage + project with the Earth Charter can work throughout the school year or at a particular time if it is intended to perform only one of the many activities offered. Certain actions are designed to be performed in a few sessions and others require implementation over time, depending on the interests and motivations of the group.
The project offers a wide range of activities to influence the various curricular areas, whether the natural and social sciences, language, through plastic arts, mathematics, technology, etc. To achieve this, different methodologies are used (work dossiers, file cards, games, stories, handicrafts, photo galleries, learning technology and knowledge (LTK) educational proposals such as: activities with interactive whiteboard, treasure hunts, webquests, JCLIC (interactive games using java platform), symbaloos, wikis, blogs, etc.).
The underlying idea is clear: we all have to seek alternatives and to call for action regarding awareness on “global ethics”, a commitment to ourselves, other people, and nature.
The project started in 2011-2012 thanks to the contributions of 27 authors, an excellent team of teachers from all across Catalonia. All of them spent many hours of their free time, weekends, and summer holidays to create educational materials that helped introduce the idea of solidarity in schools and high schools. Materials were developed with the objective to increase students’ awareness of the world they live in, social differences, and the need to work together to improve our human environment .
Over the next two years (2012-13 and 2013-14), the group continued to work on the project and complemented it with contributions of a wide range of new features, among which included the expansion of the team.
Currently, during 2015-16, there are 42 teachers working together to bring about the idea of social awareness to other areas or principles contained in The Earth Charter, such as environmental conservation or actions to ensure that our world will become more dignified, more livable and, ultimately, a better world.
2. How has it helped you be part of the Earth Charter volunteers’ network?
I enrolled in the volunteers’ network to present our project: to create a network of solidarity schools in which all centers can collaborate by contributing their experiences and/or sharing teaching materials.
3. What has been the biggest incentive that you have had to continue this work with the EC?
Thanks to an interesting lecture by Federico Mayor Zaragoza, I discovered the Earth Charter document, which inspired us to develop many of the educational materials posted on the web, since it can work in all areas and at all educational levels. No doubt this has been the greatest incentive to continue working on the project Engage +.
ECI wants to extend our gratitude to María del Mar and her colleagues for their wonderful efforts to promote a more sustainable, just and peaceful world.
THE WORLD, A GIANT POEM is a social participatory project that has brought together thousands of people in 57 cities around the world to write 150 meters long Poems in the city’s streets and emblematic plazas. The project was carried out in Ciudad Colon, near the headquarters of Earth Charter International in Costa Rica, to inspire poetry and thought about the Earth Charter +15 slogan “One Earth Community, One Common Destiny”.
The event was a great success with many people coming out to write and read. The opening was presided over by Gilberto Monge, mayor of Ciudad Colon, and Mateo Castillo, Earth Charter Council member. Other members of the Council, Earth Charter staff, municipal staff, and the Giant Poem team worked to make the event a success and celebrate the Earth Charter’s 15th anniversary.
Stay up to date with more EC+15 events and news here.
ECI Affiliate Values Foundation, along with Grupo Aión, organized a new edition of “Impulses for a better world”, centered on the slogan “The Earth Charter in Action”.
This event took place on 18 October 2014, at the Salón de Actos of Fundación Caja Rural del Sur in Huelva, Spain. After the inauguration of the event by the president of Values Foundation, María José Carrillo, several stakeholders presented their testimonies on the implementation of the Earth Charter principles in different types of projects.
Among them, Antonio Romero, Institutional Relations Coordinator at Facua, presented his new project that focuses on the development of a “Critical Consciousness” for sustainable consumption, geared towards children and teenagers. Gonzalo Revilla Parody, talked “De-growth” and his organization’s experiences with this topic, which advocates controlled reduction of economic production for establishing a new balanced relationship between human beings and nature, and among human beings. Antonio Soto and Sara Morales Pérez, from the La Hispanidad Education Co-op talked about “Values education and cooperativism“. They explained the experience of this social and economic center, which aims at promoting principles of education on values and equality of opportunities in education. Finally, Manolo García Villalba, President of Economato Resurgir, talked about this organization’s activity, which provides for almost 2,000 families suffering from a lack of resources in Huelva, offering basic commodities at a price under their production cost.
Then, a discussion table, moderated by Ramón Fernández Bevia, addressed the issue: “Building a better world: the Earth Charter”. Juan Torres López, Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Sevilla, offered a speech called “There are alternatives”, whose message focused on the third principle of the Earth Charter, Social and Economic Justice. Then, José T. Esquinas Alcázar, agricultural engineer who launched the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture approved by the FAO, talked about “Feeding the world, caring for the planet”, focused on the second Earth Charter principle, Ecological Integrity.
This initiative, supported by the Earth Charter, shows the importance of having an ethical framework to guide actions to promote a more sustainable society, as well as the way in which these actions can turn the Earth Charter values into real outcomes.
The arts were also present at this event. Find here the presentation of Rafael Prado, a pianist who played “Soul dance, the world’s movement“.
The newspaper Spain Good News (España Buenas Noticias) interviewed Pepa Carrillo, President of Values Foundation, an ECI Affiliate in Spain.
The article’s headline reads: “We’re a group of dreamers that work to create a better world“. It tells the story about how this Foundation started, how they came to know the Earth Charter, and how they’re using this document to promote changes towards more sustainable society.
Congratulations to Pepa for this fantastic interview!
As part of its commitment to promote a better world with the Earth Charter, the Values Foundation, an Earth Charter Affiliate from Spain, organized the fourth “Projects and Utopias for a Better World Conference”, in collaboration with the Vitoria-Gasteiz’s Municipality, and with the inspiration of the Earth Charter.
The conference took place on April 13-14, 2013 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. The idea was to highlight and show innovative models inspired by the three basic pillars for a sustainable future: ecology, society, and economy.
The event’s presentations and activities tried to move away from conventional conference lectures and tried to inspire and offer ideas of possible solutions that require individual and global changes to solve humanity’s problems.
These links describe the experiences of the two days in Vitoria-Gasteiz:
Since 2012, Values Foundation, ECI Affiliate in Spain, has been organizing a series of conferences called “Impulses for a better world” in different Spanish cities. These conferences connect the Earth Charter principles and overall message with different topics related to sustainability. Three conferences have been successfully organized and one was just held in March (see more details).
In this article, we want to highlight the report of the conference that took place in Sevilla in November 2012. On this occasion, Values Foundation joined forces with Grupo Aión, and the topic was “The Earth Charter, the Way to the Heart”.
The conference had two sessions, the first one focused on the Earth Charter and how it could be used to foster social changes, how its principles can form the ideal ethical framework for a new society. This part was conducted by Jose Luis Pérez Álvarez (Values Foundation and Grupo Aión).
The second part dealt with the topic “Live from the Heart – as a response to the integral development of human beings.” A methodology to help bring new ways to think about, communicate, and relate with others was presented with the objective of giving the heart back its important role as a driving force in human evolution, with the brain following the heart’s indications.
The next “Impulse” will take place in Cuenca on October 19th, 2013.
Before this, the VII Congress “Projects and Utopias for a better world will take place in Vitoria-Gasteiz, on April 13th and 14th, 2013. This is another event that Values Foundation has been organizing.